Column: Change snuck up on the Watts home

Jul. 28, 2014 @ 12:01 PM

A wise person once noted that the only thing constant in life is change. The wise person was right. People come, people go, situations get better, situations turn for the worse. People are born and people die. Some change is for the good, and conversely change can be bad.

Change. It’s perpetual.

At times change comes upon us so quickly and so unexpectedly that the entirety of our world is rocked and shaken to its very core. There are times when change can bring untold joy. Other times it can bring pain unbearable. You can fight change, you can embrace change, but the one thing you cannot do is avoid change.

Then there’s gradual change. It’s the type of change that hits you right in the face one morning as you get out of bed. Suddenly it seems that while you were sleeping everything in your life spun out of control and rammed into a bridge railing. You feel totally bewildered because you just can’t seem to understand what has happened.

Gradual change struck me last weekend. Soon our nest will be empty. I’m still reeling.

My little girl graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University this past spring with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sacred music. Soon, all too soon, she will be moving away to accept a position in a church nearly three hours away so she can apply those things she has learned. Good for her. We are proud parents, without a doubt. Her new home is not a thousand miles from Lenoir but it’s certainly far enough to keep me awake at night and her mom in a state of mild depression. This house is going to get really empty really fast.

The change we’re in the process of experiencing didn’t really come home to roost for me until I saw some of the bookcases in her room all cleaned out. The walls in that room will soon be bare as she takes down her pictures, some of which have adorned her room for years, and packs them away in preparation for the big move. Soon all that will be left in Amanda’s room are a few dust bunnies and a bed that no one will sleep in.

That huge closet, the one painted in a shade of pink bright enough to make the people who manufacture Pepto-Bismol sick with envy, will soon be barren. I won’t go in there. I can’t go in there. Despite the fact that I come from a family renowned for having good, strong, durable hearts I just don’t think I’ll take the risk. Her bedroom door will remain closed at all times.

Mealtimes will require only two settings at the table, though I doubt that for the first few weeks her mom and I will be eating all that much. Her dog will grieve, and each time we say “Amanda” Daisy will run to the window in hopes of seeing that white Toyota coming into the driveway. But it won’t be there. Even dogs hate change.

I’ve known this day would come, but don’t think for a moment that makes this any easier. As I sit here typing this there’s a big hole in my stomach about the size of the Linville Caverns and my heart is fluttering around in my chest like a hummingbird in a shoebox.

I have confidence, however, that a God who has blessed and has gone ahead to level her way wouldn’t leave my little girl now. I know He will grant her safety and keep her in the palm of His hand as her adventure unfolds.

Change.

Sorry, this is one I just can’t embrace.